Saturday, 4 October 2014

Game Of Blogs - Siege Saga - Chapter 23

Team Name: Story Weavers
Read the first part of the story here.
Read the previous part here.

      Jennifer knew she would eventually get around Kareem's directives. She just had to get into  the hotel now. This was  payback time for the little goodness that life had shown her. She shut her eyes for a few minutes to steady her heart. It was a decision she would have to live with all through her life. If she survived this madness, that is. There were two results she could foresee. Either Kareem would be sacrificed or both would be sacrificed. In the past few minutes, Jennifer had realised how the promise of heaven had been a lure for promising jihadis. Would Allah, or any God for that matter , ever be happy with this blood bath? Which God would ask for children to be slaughtered ? Which God would demand it's pound of flesh in return for a seat in heaven. She had caught herself pondering  over those words in her college text book. 

         'The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..',

 Good Lord! Was she nuts? Taking the crutch of the blind poet, Milton, long dead centuries back? Steeling herself with this rediscovered wisdom, Jennifer approached the platoon that was preparing to move in. Suraj indicated Jennifer to join them with a slight tilt of his head. Jennifer knew she would be watched like a hawk from now on. It was going to get extremely difficult to get to convince Kareem and at the same time help the hostages in her own way. A faraway  vision from childhood danced in front of her eyes. She had seen a little girl in a long, frayed cotton skirt balancing her self on a two edged sword...

        She trooped in with the soldiers, ducking and stealthily moving from one point to the other. The moment they were inside the premises, she side stepped towards the fire escape. She slithered up the iron rungs one by one, the metal grating against her bare skin. She had just one thought in mind. To reach Kareem before the troops did. To convince him to give it all up. 5th floor was a long way to go. And the rate at which she was moving seemed like ages. Unknown to her, she was covered by  a squad of soldiers under orders, who followed her from two spirals down. Jennifer was under the delusion that they were sent to keep an eye on her. How was she to get a few minutes with Kareem alone with them following? She had to think of a way fast to give them the slip. She crawled on her fours and opened the door to the third floor. Kareem had mentioned that they had the fourth floor to the eighth floor covered. She very well couldn't walk into the fifth floor with those following and be a witness to the weepy melodrama between Kareem and her. The moment she let herself in, she made a dash for the service room holding her hands over her ears in an act of shutting out the noise. She was in reality allowing herself the lag of few minutes before those soldiers turned up to shake them off. She had to think of the camera in her ear ring too. 

        She hid herself between the aprons, mops and array of other cleaning equipments, holding her breath in the darkness. She could hear the thudding of the boots out in the corridor. She waited for a few more minutes trying to discern footsteps amidst all the din. there was only the staccato of the automatics and reports of the single barrels. Could she take a chance with the service elevator? It was just a few strides down her corridor, built away from the view of hotel guests. She knew Shekhar's men were alerted about her disappearance from the group. But she had to find Kareem. She peeped out of the room. The corridor ran all around the cavernous space that rose up from the reception lobby of the ground floor. Soldiers were stationed around the corridor. She slipped out and gingerly slid along the wall to the service elevator. Thank God for small mercies! She didn't have to wait for the elevator to come up. It was already on the third floor waiting for her with open arms. She slid in and went up to the fifth floor. This was one thing she liked about posh hotels. The noiseless elevators. She loved it even more today! 

     At the fifth floor, the door opened softly. She peeped out. There were more gun shots mostly coming from the floors above and below. Where was Kareem? She couldn't call him unless she wanted all the others to know. The cavernous well of the floors below had solidified into a huge conference hall on this floor that stretched out into a terraced garden outside. This was the space where the hotel organised the huge parties. She had to find him fast! Just then she heard some footsteps and almost whirled around. A large hand clapped over her mouth almost stopping her breath. She struggled to free herself from the tight grip of Kareem's. She would know those hands and skin even if she was blind. He pulled her to the terrace outside. Now they would know where she was. She couldn't hold her hands over her ears without Kareem getting suspicious. 

  " Kareem! Look, don't you think we have had enough of this! We don't have much time" Jennifer said with as much composure as she could muster.

" Ahana, we have no other life now. It's this way or that now," he smiled wryly.
" We can help the Forces to free the hostages and they will be lenient with us," Jennifer tried reasoning.
" And we will live happily ever after in this beautiful world, is it? Where will you hide, Ahana, from 'them'? You know it is not possible!" Kareem barked sarcastically.
" You know it yourself how they hunt the traitors and bleed them to death. Either we die fighting now or live with fear and die brutally eventually" he continued. 
" It is not easy. Who knows it better than us... We could try at least. I've had enough of this cat and mouse game. Enough! I am tired...Don't you see how wrong we have been?" Jennifer tried again. 
" Don't weaken me now, Ahana! You think I haven't thought of it? It's late! Too late! All those hostages on the sixth floor have lived with fear ever since this drama began. Some have been shot while too smart for their own good. And a few oldies have died because their weak hearts couldn't take it. And behind those menacing looks of six of our friends up there, there is fear lurking. Fear of being blown away! The only fanatic idea that keeps them hooked is that damned place in heaven!" raged Kareem.

He turned around to face Jennifer, his Ahana and looked into her eyes for a moment,
" Either we are dead or we are living dead..." he said quietly.

      Shekhar and his men got the information they needed, thought Jennifer. She hoped they got to see the desperation in Kareem's voice too. Just then there was a renewed burst of shooting. Kareem and Jennifer ran and ducked behind the out door bar. 

Read the next part of the story here.

Me and my team are participating in Game Of Blogs’ at with us.”




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